Knoll
As Spoken


4.0
excellent

Review

by DadKungFu STAFF
February 3rd, 2024 | 75 replies


Release Date: 01/26/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Deeper abyss, blacker gaze

Metempiric left little doubt that Knoll were an unrelenting tidal wave of roiling savagery and talent in equal measure, an album that so purely melded an almost mathematical tightness in sound with all the deathgrind fury of Trumpeting Ecstasy that these madmen from Memphis were able to handily carve out their own voice among the blasting barbarism of all their peers. So it was with some serious anticipation that As Spoken was awaited, all wondering what directions Knoll might be led to through their pursuit of ever-deeper avenues of extremity exploration.

Somewhat to everyone’s surprise, As Spoken finds Knoll, at least to a degree, eschewing that precise tightness with which they qualified their last assault. Rather, Knoll have adopted a looser, mildly more traditional sound, whose debts are owed to the most extreme corners of black metal rather than the artsy bomb-blast sludgegrind of Full of Hell. In fact, beyond the term “black metal” it’s kind of hard to put on paper what it is that Knoll have so drastically changed with As Spoken. But the change in effect is tangibly there, a shift in presence that is immediately felt. The shifts in sound don’t so much mark a change in spirit or anything; the Tennessee crew might be tossing a Black Metal Brennus’ sword onto the victory scales laid down by Metempiric, but they’re approaching their material with the same horror-of-the-cosmos philosophy. So, perhaps a change in perspective towards the same object. But whether, and how well, this new approach works is a little bit more of a difficult nut to crack, certainly when compared to the roaring success of the angular, math-tinged spaciousness of this album’s predecessor.

The main effect, given that liberal carving from the most oppressive of black metal quarters is one of profound suffocation, claustrophobia that’s somehow missing the cavernous, cosmic qualities of their previous effort. The music is enveloping, a pervading physical force that is just as much a drowning as previous efforts, but which speaks in tones that are more personally malevolent, more “human”, or more demonic, in their malice. Special mention must go to of course Jamie Eubanks, who remains, I believe, one of the greatest, most purely vile-sounding vocalists in harsh music today. The new Black Metal inflection of his vocals make for some of the most depraved sounds to issue from a human throat, and if there’s a hair less of the nape-tingling versatility than we’ve seen before, the tradeoff comes with a near-impossible increase in sheer turbulence. The band’s renewed commitment to blistering rage, a LaBrea drowning of sludge, oppressive drone that approaches noise at times is no less apparent this time around, but takes a tack that speaks to “an affinity for the old and macabre”, to quote their bandcamp, one that approaches an old sound with all the fury they’ve been screaming with since day one.

The mild word vomit of their self-penned album blurb speaks to an attempt to carve out new symbols from old materials; they refer to themselves at this point as funeral grind, a term which feels both fitting and mildly inadequate; certainly the band is more singleminded in their pursuit of aural extremity than the vast majority of their peers, whatever scene you might compare this to. The sheer weight and savagery of the thing, added to a length that is near-Wagnerian in grindcore terms does make this more of a slow-bloom than their previous works, and one that might alienate some of those who were taken by the more immediate thrills of Metempiric. And yes, the whole thing is a bit of a sprawl, and some of their avant-garde brushwork is a little haphazard and looser-feeling than their previous work. But As Spoken more than amply shows that Knoll, even within a newfound affinity for all that is mouldered and cobwebbed, remain one of the most forward-thinking and unrelenting extreme acts active today. And while I’m already getting more and more comfortable with what they’ve done here, I’m also anticipating what pitch-black depths they’re going to plumb next time around.




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user ratings (87)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2024


4871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of those thing that pays dividends with time I think, really wasn't sure what to make of it on first listen

Hawks
February 3rd 2024


87962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Nice review bro! Album blowz.

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2024


4871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lmao thanks Hawks! I can see why you weren't feeling it BUT I do want your opinion on something since you're way deeper into the metal than me: what's a band that you feel does this kind of thing right? lmk, don't leave me hanging, bless bless

Hawks
February 3rd 2024


87962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I mean this band's previous album is amazing. Also new Vitriol is something in this vain that slayz. Idk what these guys were trying to do here tbh. It's like they tried to go all Blut Aus Nord without any of the things that make BAN so special. Also kinda made me think of ...and Oceans' first few albums if those albums sucked.

Hawks
February 3rd 2024


87962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Also would throw out Thantifaxath, Serpent Column and/or Hoplites as stuff that could be comparable. DSO is an obvious one for this particular album as well.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2024


32043 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review! I think these guys like Full of Hell and adjacents a lot. I don't see the Vitriol comparison tbh. Hoplites and Serpent Column yes, definitely.

Koris
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2024


21169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Glad you got to this one. I would've been much harsher, lol



Nice writeup!

Hawks
February 3rd 2024


87962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Idk new Vitriol is more dm than this album is for sure where this one is more on the bm side of things but the chaotic nature of both albums is similar imo.

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
February 4th 2024


4871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Deathgrind Blut Aus Nord is actually a good way to encapsulate this Thantifaxath and Hoplites are headscratcher comparisons though and gonna check Vitriol

JayEnder
February 5th 2024


19936 Comments


This is like if Portal and Full of Hell had intercourse. Pretty sick stuff

Frost15
February 5th 2024


3008 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That's another perfectly fine comparison indeed

ramon.
February 5th 2024


4185 Comments


sounbds abit like noll

Sinternet
Contributing Reviewer
February 5th 2024


26592 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This rips

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2024


4871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

KnollertheBoller

Demon of the Fall
February 5th 2024


33876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm glad this received a positive review, the change in direction is worthy of praise in the face of some (seemingly) unhappy consumers

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2024


4871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I mean I don't think I'll ever love this like their previous one but this rips harder than anything they've done so far

Demon of the Fall
February 5th 2024


33876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

No, that seems unlikely here too. I just think the change-up is (mostly) a successful one. I'm not sure I really needed another Metempiric, when Metempiric would probably out-Metempiric the follow-up (to Metempiric)

Comatorium.
February 5th 2024


5053 Comments


Album fucks. Anyone who writes this band off as full of hell worship is missing out.

There’s portal worship too, and it’s all fuckin great

mindleviticus
February 5th 2024


10489 Comments


Imho I don't find the full of hell style death/black grind super appealing. Maybe it's the production or that they're trying so hard to be as heavy and vile as possible. I just don't see many situations where I'd want to put something like this on. At least with a straight up deathgrind or grindcore album, I can blow through those quite quickly and it's consistent enough.

Hawks
February 5th 2024


87962 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Reminds me a lot of the most recent FOH album which also sucks yeah.



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